Location: New Orleans, LA
September 8, 2013 8:26 pm
Do you know what this little guy is called? It fell out of a tree, practically in my friend’s lap, and everyone freaked out and warned her that these leave nasty welts when they bite. That’s disappointing, because it’s awfully cute. Curious what the little fella is.
Signature: Bugged to Know
Dear Bugged to Know,
This is a Giant Silkmoth Caterpillar in the genus Callosamia, and we feel the report of bites leaving welts is not true, though there are many stinging caterpillars that can leave welts. There are three members of the genus Callosamia found in the New Orleans area, and all three have similar looking caterpillars, so we can’t say for certain which of the three species you found. Our money is on this being the caterpillar of a Tulip Tree Silkmoth, Callosamia angulifera, which you can see on BugGuide. This might also be the caterpillar of a Promethea Moth, Callosamia promethea, which is also pictured on BugGuide, or the caterpillar of a Sweetbay Silkmoth, Callosamia securifera, which you can find pictured on the Butterflies and Moths of North America.